Mission Viejo is about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego and is the best American embodiment of planned suburbia. Six-lane wide avenues and endless subdivisions of single-family houses surrounding pockets of strip malls are the norm.
The proper name in Spanish should be Misión Vieja, as 'mission' is a feminine noun. The masculine gender of "viejo" is a vestige from the original name of the area, "Rancho Mission Viejo"; "viejo" modified "rancho", a masculine noun. In light of the history of the area, the masculine adjective was preserved. The "Mission" of "Mission Viejo" is Mission San Juan Capistrano; Mission Viejo was a community of San Juan Capistrano until it became an independent city in 1988.
- By air, SNA IATA (Mission Viejo is 15 miles south of John Wayne Airport.)
- By car, I-5. Exit between El Toro Road (north end) and Crown Valley Parkway (south end).
OCTA operates bus lines throughout the city, but renting a car is preferable and convenient.
- 1 Lake Mission Viejo. One of the prettiest locations in Mission Viejo and all of Orange County. In order to create waterfront property in Mission Viejo before the housing boom of Southern Orange County, the lake was built and allows swimming, sailing, kayaking, and fishing. These waterfron properties typically sell upward of $2 million.
- 2 Holy Jim Canyon & Falls, Holy Jim Canyon Rd (in the Cleveland National Forest).
- 3 Mission Viejo Public Library, 100 Civic Center. A modern building whose impressive design was inspired by the California Arts & Crafts movement.
- 4 Florence Joyner Olympic Park, 22760 Olympiad Rd. A beautiful park at the corner of Olympiad and Alicia Parkway built in honor of Olympian Florence Joyner who lived in the upscale Canyon Crest Estates above the park. She suddenly died in her home in the 1990s and the park is built in her memory.
- Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo: . Late August. (date needs fixing)
Most Mission Viejans shy away from their local restaurants for all but casual dining, and prefer nicer restaurants in adjacent communities. However, it has a few gems:
- 1 Eat Thai Cuisine, 25482 Marguerite Pkwy, ☏ .
- 2 In-N-Out Burger, 28782 Camino Capistrano. Californian readers will agree that this is an American institution. Fresh, cheap food in a clean restaurant. The menu is limited, but search online for their "secret code" for access to unlisted items and combinations.
- 3 Hatam Restaurant, 25800 Jeronimo Rd #402, ☏ . Authentic Persian food.
- PF Chang's China Bistro (in the Shops at Mission Viejo). Authentic American-style Chinese cuisine.
- The Cafe at Nordstroms (in the Shops at Mission Viejo). Excellent pastries, lattes and espressos, far superior to the Starbuck's variety (prices are reasonable).
- 4 Shin Sushi, 26002 Marguerite, ☏ . Fresh authentic sushi prepared by a master.
- 5 Peppinos, 27782 Vista del Lago #26, ☏ . A family-owned Italian restaurant with sweeping view of Lake Mission Viejo in Plaza del Lago.
- 6 Yama Sushi, 27782 Vista del Lago, ☏ . One of Mission Viejo's best Japanese restaurants with a unique menu. Located in Plaza del Lago with lake views as well.
The local favorite is Patsies Irish Pub on the Corner of Los Alisos and Jeronimo. It is a typical American/Irish bar and is fun place with great drinks and karaoke.
|Routes through Mission Viejo|
|Santa Ana ← Lake Forest ←||N S||→ San Juan Capistrano → San Diego|